He Said-She Said: When "Love" Is Abusive
- Thursday, May 07, 2009
EDITOR’S NOTE: Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you’ve got a question about anything related to singleness, please CLICK HERE to submit (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I am dating this man in his early 40s, never married. I am recently divorced (1 ½ years). In the time that I have seen him he has said the most horrible things when we have argued (things I told him in confidence and trusted about my life). It’s like his Christianity is totally thrown out the door. He doesn’t like to talk about things that may be bothering me and says things like “We’re not going to talk about that right now” or “You need to just get over it.” He has hurt me mentally on so many levels. He breaks my spirit, but yet I sometimes feel like I should still love him and deal with him for some reason. I guess because I keep thinking love is patient. When is enough enough in a “Christian relationship”? I don’t know how to break up with him either, because he has temper tantrums.
HE SAID: I want to give your boyfriend the benefit of the doubt since he doesn’t have a voice in this. However, from the information you have told us, my immediate reaction is (and I’m guessing my counterpart would have similar thoughts): So, WHY ARE YOU DATING THIS GUY?!!!
I use the term “boyfriend” (signifying there is some commitment to the relationship) because if you are only casually “dating” while he is treating you like this, end of discussion.
I am a little perplexed why you would continue to go out with a guy who treats you so poorly. He doesn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities or sincerely care about you, at least from what you have shared. Aside from his verbal and relational skills, that need to “refined,” what attracts you to this man?
I wonder if he has any of the same characteristics to those of your ex-husband. Are you attracted to the type of person who needs to be “fixed”? Do you feel as if your self-esteem is rather low at this point? I only ask these questions to better understand why you are in this relationship.
Love each other as I have loved you (John 15:12).
We are clearly commanded to love one another, and we are to do so in the same way Jesus loved us: with grace, forgiveness, and mercy, unconditionally. However, we don’t have to be dating a person in order to care about someone. We are not called to be in an abusive relationship to love someone through their shortcomings.
You mention love is patient, and love is.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
Does this mean you are in love with him? Have you discussed what love means to the both of you? Is your boyfriend someone you would want to spend the rest of your life with just as he is?
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11).
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